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The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass

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Chapter 1

The Emotional Craft of Fiction

The world of fiction writers is a collection of opposites: factions at odds in their beliefs, values, purpose, and way of writing. Some authors have commercial intent; others, literary. Some outline; others explore story in successive drafts. For some, genre is a badge of pride; for others, it’s a hateful label. Prestige matters greatly to some, money to others, and movie options to a misguided few.

A dichotomy less often discussed is the division between those who are comfortable writing emotions and those who find putting emotions on the page repellent. The latter group values showing. To get a reader to feel what a character feels, the thinking goes, put the reader through a character’s experience. ...

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